Substance Use

How Does Benzodiazepine Affect Your Sleep?

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Benzodiazepines Sleep Effects

Doctors commonly prescribe benzodiazepines for people with anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and depression. These drugs have a relaxing and calming effect that many find helps them sleep better. However, in some cases, their use can cause sleeping issues rather than remedy them. This article provides a brief overview of what benzodiazepines are, what they’re used for, and how they work. We also explain how benzodiazepines can affect your sleep.

Are you taking benzodiazepines and having trouble sleeping? For immediate assistance, call Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439

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Ways Benzodiazepines Can Affect Sleep 

Some people use benzodiazepines to help them sleep, even though it’s not approved for use as a sleep aid. Similarly, nursing care centers often give benzodiazepines to their residents because they act like a sedative drug. However, researchers who studied benzodiazepine usage at residential care centers found that:

  • Short-acting benzodiazepines given only as needed were associated with lower nighttime sleep quality. 
  • Long-acting benzodiazepines given regularly were associated with higher nighttime sleep quality. 

What’s just as alarming as the typical side effects of benzodiazepines is that long-term users are more likely to have sleep problems. The longer the drug is used, the worse sleep tends to get.  

A research study found that benzodiazepines affect the different sleep phases. Sleep involves a continuous cycle of stages that include non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). When taking benzodiazepines, patients experienced the following while sleeping: 

  • Increase in stage 2 of NREM sleep 
  • Decrease in time of stages 3 and 4 of NREM sleep
  • Reduction in time of REM sleep

Inadequate sleep can lead to memory and concentration difficulties. It can also cause weight gain. In addition, the quality of sleep induced by benzodiazepine is different from that of natural sleep in terms of brain activity. Non-benzodiazepine sleep meds are often used as alternatives for insomnia and sleep disorders, but they can still lead to side effects and the risk of addiction.

What Are Benzodiazepines? 

The term “benzodiazepine” refers to a class of depressant drugs with sedative effects used to treat anxiety, panic disorder, convulsions, seizures, and other disorders. Benzodiazepines are categorized as Schedule IV psychoactive drugs.

This means they’re illegal to use unless you have a prescription. “Benzos” and “downers” are common street names for these drugs when sold and used without a prescription. 

The most common benzodiazepines include: 

  • Ativan®  
  • Halcion® 
  • Klonopin®  
  • Valium® 
  • Xanax® 

Librium was the first benzodiazepine ever prescribed in the 1960s. Since then, others have been put on the market. Every type of medical professional, from primary care physicians to doctors of psychiatry and other clinicians, has been prescribing these drugs to many patients throughout the decades. Eventually, researchers found that benzodiazepines are highly addictive.

It’s critical for patients and healthcare service providers to understand the addictive qualities of temazepam, zolpidem, clonazepam, triazolam, alprazolam, diazepam, lorazepam, and other drugs.

Related Reading: How Long Do Benzodiazepines Stay in Your System?

Length of Time Benzodiazepines Stay in Your Body

There are many types of benzodiazepines — all considered potentially addictive. The amount of time these drugs stay in your system depends on the specific drug a doctor prescribes.

The following numbers show the differences in the elimination half-life of different benzodiazepines:

  • Short-acting benzodiazepines: Median of 1–12 hours
  • Intermediate-acting benzodiazepines: Average of 12–40 hours 
  • Long-acting benzodiazepines: Average of 40—250 hours

As you can see, benzodiazepines, from Valium to Xanax, can take some time before they leave your body. This means the adverse effects can be long-lasting. Keep reading to learn how these drugs can affect you mentally and physically.

Are you suffering from addiction or the adverse effects of antidepressants, sedative drugs, and hypnotics? Speak to one of our team members and get help for your benzodiazepine use. Zinnia Health has a range of treatment programs that can be customized just for you.

Adverse Effects of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are considered relatively safe as a short-term treatment. However, there are significant risks associated with the long-term use of these drugs.

Some of the side effects of benzodiazepines include: 

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Confusion 
  • Unsteady balance 
  • Daytime drowsiness 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Constipation or diarrhea 
  • Nausea and vomiting  
  • Respiratory depression or arrest 
  • Headache 

Research has shown that one out of four older adults continue using benzodiazepines for the long term. The many side effects of the medication use of this type of drug can increase the risk that older people are involved in car accidents or sustain falls and broken hips. In addition, extended usage puts them at a higher risk of developing a dependency on the drug. 

Related Reading: Benzodiazepine Abuse and Addiction Treatment Options

Benzodiazepine Treatment Options

Substance misuse or abuse involving benzodiazepines shouldn’t be taken likely. These drugs are highly habit-forming, which makes them difficult to stop relying on.

There are many approaches to treating benzodiazepines addiction. The best approach will vary based on the following factors:

  • The type of benzodiazepines used
  • Presence of other substance abuse issues
  • The length of time you’ve been taking the drugs
  • Usual dosage taken
  • Underlying mental health issues 

Benzodiazepine use can be very problematic when the drugs are taken in excess or for too long. If you or a loved one shows signs of addiction, it’s crucial to help right away. There are many impacts on one’s physical health, but the field of psychiatry has shown mental health to be a big part of it as well. Take advantage of the many programs available, including the treatment of insomnia, and get on the road to recovery.

Zinnia Health Offers Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment 

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs used to help people suffering from various mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. The active ingredient causes the body to relax, which is calming to patients. Research studies have shown that benzodiazepines can impact your quality of sleep.

Insomnia and similar sleep disorders are common side effects, especially with long-term use. It’s no fun dealing with sleep disturbances and chronic insomnia. Even worse, when you’re struggling with medicine use, including:

  • Temazepam
  • Zolpidem
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Triazolam
  • Aplrazolam
  • Lorazepam
  • Other medicines clinicians have prescribed

There are many ways to overcome addiction, from therapeutic programs and support groups.

Zinnia Health is a comprehensive healthcare provider with successful recovery rates that are consistently higher than the national average. We offer a range of services at treatment facilities throughout the U.S., including inpatient, outpatient, detox, residential, and ongoing care. If you or a loved one suffer from benzodiazepine addiction, we can help. Call (855) 430-9439 or contact us here to learn more about our treatment options. 

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